Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Friday, July 31, 2009
My little fashionista ready for her school day.

Shortly after Kindergarten started, I made myself a promise. The promise was...from that day forward I would relinquish my need to control hair and wardrobe choices for my precious offspring. However, I retained the right to intervene in said choices should any of the following conditions occur:

1. Inappropriate showing of the bid-ness
2. Visible skin square footage exceeds comfort level of either parental unit
2. Outfit selection with blatant disregard for extreme weather conditions
3. Hair in the face

Let me say (and those of you that know me don't need to be told) I am a FAR cry from being anywhere near a fashion statement. In fact, I'm sure that my faceless picture has appeared in a few "DON'T DO THIS" sections. But, I do think I have a knack for putting together some cute outfits for Abby. I have a decent sense of what colors match and am able to pair appropriate footwear and even accessorize when necessary. So when Abby began to have an opinion about her clothing, I was sure that it would fall in line with my own (right) opinion.

Boy was I wrong...

I remember the first time Abby and I had a full blown argument about what she would wear to school. Good grief...I couldn't believe how immature she was being. Uh...I mean....um....I couldn't believe how immature I was being. I'm arguing with a five year old - one who wants to wear plaid shorts with a tie die shirt....this can't end well.

I can't say it was exactly that day that I made the promise to myself...it may have been a few arguments later.

It's been a good exercise in self-control for me. I could always to a little better at hiding my obvious dis-like of a certain pairing. And because I can't completely keep my mouth shut, I do offer my "opinion" and then add, "but in the end, it's your decision".

Of course I would love for my kid to be perfectly groomed and well dressed. But WHY IS THAT???? Would I be embarrassed because she's wearing some mis-matched outfit or her hair is not perfectly coiffed? Do I have insecurities that are softened by having a put-together child? Why is it so hard for me to let it go?

I haven't been able to answer that question so much, but I have stayed true to my promise. I do love seeing Abby free to express herself through her wardrobe selection, even if the colors don't match or the patterns clash. My prayer is that when I do need to stand firm with her on an issue, she will know and understand that it's over something important and not over some silly thing like a pair of plaid pants cuffed all the way up to her knee.




















What I have come to realize is that what she wears on her body (as long as it satisfies my standard of "appropriateness") is not nearly as important as the character that is developing on the inside. How she rocks her 'do is a drop in the bucket compared to the brain that's underneath that beautiful head of hair.

So...where do you need to pull back the reigns a bit and let the petty stuff roll?

Just askin' is all...

Rock that plaid, y'all.
k
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Signal the conductor...the train needs slowin' down! Was it not yesterday that I was giving birth to my precious child and now she's going to 1st grade?

I always wanted to sucker punch those people who would sigh and say, "enjoy each moment because it goes by so fast". Ugh! "Get over the cliche's already" I would scoff to myself. Ahhh, it's so refreshing to look back and see how mature I've become since those days. Now instead of scoffing, I'm just trying to enjoy each moment...you know, it goes by so fast!

Abby on her first day of school 2009 (1st grade)


I realize that I just did this comparison less than 2 months ago (read that here). You may find comfort in knowing that next year I may be over the taking-of-the-pictures-with-the-backpack phase. I'm not sure I can give you that assurance just yet, but the thought may help you endure another round of Care Bear backpack pictures.

Actually, this was Abby's idea...she thought it would be a good "joke" to take another picture of her this year with the infamous CB backpack. I agreed that it might be a good tool to measure her growth. Won't it be fabulous to see her wearing the Care Bear's backpack on her first day of work?

Let's review:
August 2006, first day of Pre-school


August 2007, first day of Jr. Kindergarten


July 2008, first day of Kindergarten


July 2009, first day of 1st Grade


Take special note of the shoes here in the last picture. Yes, those are shoelaces. Although Abby has known how to tie a bow for awhile, I've hesitated to buy lace up shoes because I knew that it would add an additional 16 minutes to the morning routine. As it is, the production that she does with her socks takes 3 minutes per foot. Not because she can't navigate the sock - it's the cuffing. Ohhhh the cuffing....it must be just so. Will never know where she gets that from.

It was a great first day at school...Abby's very excited to have her same teacher this year as she did for Kindergarten. She has all the same classmates (with the exception of one who moved out of state and one new boy). We are looking forward to all that 1st grade will bring.

I'm especially looking forward to my daughter officially being smarter than me.

Big hugs from
Care Bear Backpack Central,
k
Monday, July 20, 2009
I just wanted y'all to see these pictures from 2006 to prove that I actually have grown stuff before. It's not that I'm insecure or anything...really, I'm not. I'm not insecure at all. Do you believe me? Because I need you to believe me. I'm not insecure. I can grow stuff...see the pictures?

Abby waters our garden back in California

Our California Garden

Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I can get down to business.

Most of you probably know that Club Amaro has joined together with our very good friends down the street to grow a vegetable garden this season. Because they have a large family (six) and a big yard (huge, I'm telling you) the garden plot is...well...the size of a small country. Ok, I'm exaggerating, it's only the size of a small state.

After the last few days, I've been reflecting on the lessons that I have learned from my time (or lack thereof) with the garden. Of course it's not enough for me to just keep my thoughts to myself, I have to blab them all over the web. So if you're not interested in my thoughts on the garden, I'm sure there are much more worthwhile things to look at during your time here on the web. Have you been to Hulu.com?

Ah, I see you're still here...fabulouso! I've broken my thoughts down with commentary (what's new, right?)...

1. PROPER PLANNING & PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING

Do not....I repeat....DO NOT put me in charge of ANYTHING that requires graph paper, rulers or mechanical pencils. It will not go well for you.

If you don't properly plan and prepare (or if you don't plan and prepare at all), there will most likely be more work for yourself down the road. Putting more work up front will pay dividends and perhaps save alot of hassle.

I don't always want to take the time to prepare or plan. I can be a very lazy person sometimes. There are those times when it's inconvenient for me to prepare and plan.

Where in my life am I choosing comfort and convenience over diligent planning and preparation?

2. BE FLEXIBLE - CIRCUMSTANCES DON'T ALWAYS COOPERATE

File this one also under: I AM NOT IN CONTROL.

You know, it is really not so cool when you plan to go harvest and weed, then out of nowhere comes a torrential downpour. Not cool at all.

I need to be ready for things to come my way. However, it's impossible to be ready for everything - in fact, you can really get spun out trying to be ready for everything. I think it's more important to be flexible. Flexibility allows us to take circumstances just as they come. We can surely count on there being times when things are out of our control and any attempt to control them brings us S~T~R~E~S~S! That stress drains us of our energy...energy that should be used for taking care of things that we DO have control over. Better to be flexible with things that you have no control over.

Where in my life can I exchange my need to control the planet and everyone on it with flexibility?

3. NEGLECT IS A TERRIBLE THING

Note to self. Do not start a garden and then leave the state for 2 weeks.

Sometimes neglect cannot be avoided...in the case of our garden, we had the unfortunate situation of all parties leaving town for at least two weeks (in the case of our friends, leaving overseas for a month). So the garden was quite content to continue on without us...in ways that we could never imagine. I'm hoping I don't need to elaborate here...do I need to paint you a picture? Weeds, people. Big weeds. And crabgrass. Tall and prolific grass. And poison something-or-other. And big, unidentifiable vegetables.

For those times of neglect that cannot be avoided, please see #2 above.

However, sometimes neglect occurs because we don't want to face something. It can also be attributed to laziness or the "P" word (procrastination - you probably don't know anything about this, but I was actually consulted by Webster himself when he wrote the definition).

Where in my life am I neglecting something? Why am I doing that? Who and or what is suffering because of my inability to do what needs to be done?

Reminder - there is almost always other parties who suffer when I choose to neglect something!

4. IT'S EASIER TO REMOVE SOMETHING WHEN PREPARATION HAS OCCURRED

Have you ever tried to pull a weed out of hard, dry ground? Have you ever tried to pull a weed out after a few days of rain? Weeds are a wonderful analogy for sin in our lives. Don't get me started, I could do a whole post on that alone. Weeds are bad for a garden, but I know they do serve a purpose. Once we decide to pull that sucker out, it goes so much easier if we do a little preparation on the front end. You can't make it rain, but a little watering makes the process easier.

Like dealing with weeds, confronting sin in our lives is not easy. It can be overwhelming, scary, difficult or bring on anxiety or denial. Or all of the above and then some. Coming before God in humility, with a genuine desire to overcome our issues can be like a much needed dampening of hard, dry ground. This act must be consistent and persistent to be effective, though. A hard, dry ground responds much better to consistent watering in proper amounts over a period of time then it does to just dumping a big bucket of water over it!

What sin in my life am I not confronting? What needs to be taken to the throne of my Lord in humility? Where am I not being consistent and persistent with my "bringing to the Lord"?

I actually have much more than this on my mind, but I'm sure that you're about to beat me with a 3 foot zucchini at this point. So I'm going to leave it at 4 and call it a night. If you're still with me, you have my sincere thanks for enduring through my introspection. Most of all I thankful for the Co-op which has been yet another tool that God has used to teach me. If only I could pass the tests on the first taking!

Tomatoes, Peppers and Basil...oh my!

Lots of love,
k

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish." Luke 14:28-30
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Someone has graduated to the big leagues.


All this talent in such a cute little package...



I wonder how much the signing bonus will be...



Stay tuned for my next pictorial series entitled, "Sunflower seed spitting and Hoops".
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
So all the sudden I'm in the mood for some peaches...maybe with a little side of herb? Unfortunately, there's no time for that - I haven't posted in 10 days and the blogging police have an APB out on me. As my friend Marty would say, I need to get crack-a-lackin'.

Reunited, and it feels so good. Reunited, 'cause we understood.
There's one perfect fit and, sugar, this one is it.
We both are so excited cuz we're reunited
Hey, hey


My hope is that you sang that out loud without realizing it.

I've had this song in my head all week long while thinking of all the reunions that have occurred over the last few days. Along with the tune, I'm having visions of the cheesy video that went along with it. You know the one...Peaches has that long sequined evening gown on and I can't even start about Herb. Anyway, I digress. Let's talk about reunions.

Reunion #1 is between the 3 Amaro's and our house. Saturday evening, we returned home from our 2 week vacation to Texas and Arkansas. We thoroughly enjoyed our vacation - but hey, you can't tell me that it doesn't feel good to come home. Not only that, but before we left, I cleaned the house. Even my fridge...hey, when there's no food in there and you actually have to look at the shelves? It ain't pretty, kitty. I don't care if you call me names, but I was downright giddy when I walked in the door and saw my clean house. I opened the refrigerator and a chorus of angels sang. It was wonderful for about 5 minutes and then I transformed into the nightmare unpacking lady...which is almost as scary as the nightmare packing lady. Don't get in my way...I'm unpacking. Ask Mike about it...he'll tell ya.

The honor of Reunion #2 is given to the 3 Amaro's and Grandaddy. We picked him up from the airport Sunday morning - he flew ALL NIGHT long (after getting off work Saturday night!). We have been enjoying his time here and we're even getting a new painted mailbox out of the deal. How 'bout that! One thing I can always count on when Dad is here is getting in my recommended daily allowance of fruit. He's always cuttin' up fruit. I'll be walking past him and all of the sudden there will be a knife in my face with a perfectly cut cantaloupe pyramid at the end and the words, "here". Love that.

Reunion #3 We decided that taking Jeremiah with us on vacation would not be wise so we called upon our friends, The Rutledges to fish sit. We knew that the J man would be in good hands with this gang. Sure enough, when we went to pick him up Sunday afternoon he was in good spirits - even after ingesting a popcorn kernal husk (good job, Rusty...hee hee!). We brought Jeremiah home, cleaned his tank and gave him a little blood worm treat. He was in fish heaven...figuratively speaking, of course. A special "THANK YOU" to the Rutledge crew for taking care of Jeremiah and giving us little facebook updates on his time with you. We appreciate you guys!!

Some other reunions of note...I had a reunion with going back to work. I can't say it was such a favorable one (not in regards to my co-workers, of course, whom I enjoy immensely). I was also reunited with B & M and the kids who returned back yesterday from a month overseas. Next week, Abby will be reunited with school (I can't believe I have a daughter in 1st grade). Since I've been off the blogging charts for awhile, I guess I'm also having a little reunion with you right now!

Now you can see why I've got Peaches and Herb on my mind...

Oh yeah. One little random item I did want to mention...Abby has reached an incredible milestone. The child officially blows bubbles with her gum. Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to you - but - have YOU ever tried to teach someone (under the age of 7, that is) how to blow a bubble? I have sprouted a whole crop of gray hairs from the experience. Buy stock in Trident now, people.

Consider yourself reunited...hey, hey.

lots of love,
k
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Hey y'all...Hope you're all recovering from your wild and crazy July fourths - or would that be July 1/4's? Hey, I never promised you grammatical correctness here...you get my point, let's move on.

We are bringing down the house here in Tejas - trying to keep cool in the midst of 100+ degree weather. We've managed to do a pretty good job - after all, it's a "dry" heat, right? We actually had a little cooling trend here today - got down to about 93 degrees - Grandpapa kept saying if it gets any cooler we'd have to break out the coats.

Thought you'd all be on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what we've been up to, so I'll do a little recap. I gave you the Reader's Digest version in the post title...but I'll follow up with a few pictures and a little commentary.

The Dremel...one of mankind's most useful tools. Do you not know about the dremel? If not, immediately go down to the Home Depots and find out all you can about it. When Abby was a baby, she would get the crusty nose. Those of you with kids know what I'm talking about. Even if you don't have kids - you've had a case of the crusty nose. Don't pretend like you've never had one. Anyway - when Abby had the crusty nose, Grandpapa always said he was going to go get the q-tip attachment for the dremel and take care of biz. Now see...if you don't know what a dremel is, that won't make alot of sense. So - all that to say, Abby & Grandpapa had a little time with the dremel today. NO, there were no q-tips involved thank goodness! They were working on a little project together.



As you can see, Abby's has her safety goggles on...Grandpapa's motto is: SAFETY FIRST.

Of course, you have to balance out your workshop projects with a little domestic activity. That would be Grandmama's area...here, you can see Abby in the kitchen assisting GMM with the lemonade pie we had with our 4th of July meal.



Abby did most of the work on the pie herself, down to the licking of the spoons, beaters & bowl. I think all the licking took place prior to the mixing of the pie filling, but I'm not sure...let's hope.

Once again, it's all about balance. Workshop project and domestic activity must be balanced with the right amount of blowing stuff up. Yeah...huh, huh...blowing stuff up is cool.

Just let me have my pyromaniac moment, please, ok?

In honor of our country's 233rd birthday, GPP purchased the Costco package of fireworks, complete with Eyeballs, Happy Penguins, Poppers, Bumble Bees, Snakes, Sparklers and those little things that look like booger papers that you throw on the ground to make popping noises.



One thing about GPP...he's all about safety. His motto is: SAFETY FIRST (my motto is, REPETITION AGAIN). I took one look at that box of firecrackers and my finger turned into a bic lighter...I was ready to tear into them and light stuff. But GPP had to have a staging area AND, the lighting area had to prepped. That included soaking of the wood and grass in surrounding areas as well as proper safety gear for those under 7 years of age.


Abby in her protective eyewear, GPP preps the lighting area in the background.

Abby is not afraid to watch fireworks (we have 5 years of Titoland to thank for that!). However, the thought of lighting one up or holding onto a sparkler put her in a tail spin. Mike and I trust GPP (20+ years in the military and some of those as fire marshall) and had no problem with him teaching her respect for fire and proper techniques for dealing with it. She was apprehensive at first. She could barely light the wick without GPP there holding the punk (fyi - that's a big long incense looking thing they use to light the fireworks...don't know if that's official, but hey, GPP said). After she lit it, she would run for the hills like a little school girl. Of course, she is a little school girl, but that's beside the point. It took a little gentle - and I do mean gentle - coercing, but by the end of the night, Abby was running the fireworks show! She knew the names of all the fireworks and was instructing the onlookers about what was going down - all this with her hand on her hip. Those of you who know Abby personally can visualize just what I'm talking about.

During all this display of fire power, I had a chance to play with The Reb and see what kind of fun images I could get. Here's one of my favorites - this one is called the Eyeball.


One thing that I didn't squeeze into the post title is our trip to Rangers Stadium on Friday night. A great game (Rangers won 3-1) that included a home run and a post-game fireworks show. We were WAY up high, but they were still great seats (and thank goodness, in the shade!).

Be sure to visit the DropShots account for all the pics...you know, I don't post them all here. These are the teasers, people. Go there, make comments on them...let me know that you're out there.

So there you have it...another update from the Club. You will probably hear from us again before we leave at the end of the week. So keep your bookmark handy.

Keepin' it real in Tejas,

k
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hey Y'all...

I have so many stinkin' pictures to share that I can't decide who the lead off hitter should be for this post. When all else fails, you put your Rickey Henderson at the top of the line up...which in my case would be Abby. She can't compete in the stolen bases category, but I think it's a good choice, don't you?

So I have a few things on my mind to share, but I'm just feeling too overwhelmed to share it all. Not only that, but I've been looking at my Old Mill pictures so much that my mind is overstimulated by all the fabulous colors. I think at this point, I'm going to keep with my sports theme and give you like the SportsCenter highlights. Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Tuesday:

We went to see the monstrosity that is the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Mind you, we were not willing to pay the ridiculous admission fee to get in the building...so it was enough for us to just take in all that was outside. Interesting to say the least. The best part about this was my bridge. Yes, I was absolutely captivated by this bridge next to the library...I couldn't stop taking pictures of it.

Did you know that next to the WJCPL is the "University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service"? Uh huh... I've decided to just leave my comments at that.

Next, we checked out the Aerospace Education Center. This is 17 minutes of my life I'm never getting back. Take note...if you are in Little Rock, do not...I repeat...DO NOT see this. It was awful. The highlight of this 17 minutes actually came before we got in the building...it was seeing a Southwest airlines jet take off from the airport next door. Actually, there was another highlight from inside the building:
Abby takes a quick trip to the moon

I encourage you to check out my batch of pictures from this days event here.

Wednesday (today):




This morning we left Little Rock, but not before getting 182 shots of The Old Mill. Here is a little fascinating tidbit about this spot:

Pugh's Mill Park [The Old Mill Park] was built in 1933 by Justin Matthews. The mill was designed to appear as if it had been built in 1800s Arkansas and features sculptures by the famous Mexican artist Senor Dionicio Rodriguez (1893-1955). The Mill is made largely from tinted concrete applied over steel and copper foundations and made to represent wood, iron, and stone. Rodriquez, who spoke no English, was very secretive about his plaster techniques. He called his art "el trabajo rustico" -- rustic work. He lived in San Antonio, TX and his work can be found throughout that city, including the pagoda-like entry gate to the Japanese Sunken Gardens, park benches and a covered foot bridge in Brackenridge Park. His San Antonio work was commissioned by Charles Baumberger, president of the San Antonio Portland Cement Company. Rodriguez also created the Crystal Shrine Grotto in Memphis. His sculptures are now considered rare works of art. Pugh's Mill can be seen briefly in the opening scenes of the 1939 movie classic Gone With The Wind. [Mark Lessing, 08/30/2003]
For the love of all things colorful, check out the pictures here.

Otherwise...we are here in Texas safe and sound. Little Rock was a wonderful way to break up our trip! Now we are looking forward to some fun with Gmama & Gpapa before heading back home in 10 days.

I sure appreciate all of you who read the Adventures. I especially love hearing from you through the various channels (comments section, email, facebook). Thanks for supporting me as I spout off about all kinds of thoughts and opinions...you are why I do it!

Much love,
k